Tony Benn (Lab) and Roy Jenkins (Lab) debate on the 1975 Referendum

1975 - Debate on whether the UK should vote to remain in the Common Market

The February 1974 elections saw a Labour minority government with Prime Minister Harold Wilson at the helm. Wilson calls a fresh election in October 1974 with a view to gaining the majority. He fights for votes with a manifesto pledging to renegotiate the terms of British membership to the Common Market, and then hold a referendum on whether Britain should remain on those renegotiated new terms or leave. Labour win a majority of just one seat giving Wilson the mandate to carry on.

The result of the referendum saw public support for continued membership of the Common Market, with 67% in favour on a voter turnout of 64%.

The 1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum was not legally binding but a subsequent vote by the House of Commons saw 396 in favour to 170 to remain in the Common Market on the new terms.